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January 31, 2012
• Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: P. Walton
• Attendance: 29856
D. Gibson 60'
Time to wrap up this LIVE! commentary now. Thanks to all those who dropped by or stuck with me throughout the Goodison Park clash.
Well, I bet many of you didn't see that coming? Man City retain the top spot in the league despite Manchester United winning at home to Stoke City tonight. Everton, on the other hand, travel from 14th to ninth in the table.
90' + 5'
The game ends Everton 1-0 Manchester City. The hosts fought valiantly to secure a victory against the league leaders. The first half saw the visitors have the majority of possession, but Denis Stracqualarsi nearly put the Toffees ahead in the first five minutes. Despite a number of close chances - including Samir Nasri hitting the crossbar from long range - City were poor in front of goal. Darron Gibson's goal on 60 minutes was well-taken and well-deserved, and the former Manchester United man will be delighted to have scored against his former rivals. Roberto Mancini's men pressed until the very end, but they were unable to get an equaliser and the team will leave Goodison Park empty handed.
90' + 3'
A minute left. It looks like City will leave Merseyside with zero points tonight, and David Moyes will have his first Premier League win in five matches.
90' + 2'
Dzeko, who has been a peripheral figure in tonight's match, blasts a shot way over from 25-yards out.
City fail to score from a later corner, and Everton win a free-kick when Vincent Kompany is ruled offside. Four minutes of added time at Goodison Park.
Stracqualursi comes off the pitch for Apostolos Vellios. One man with a hard-to-spell name for another! One minute remains of normal time.
Fellaini's graft keeps City from regaining possession, Donovan's skill advances it down the wing, then Tim Cahill hustles to keep the ball on the right flank by the corner flag. The Australian wins a throw-in and importantly, keeps hold of the ball as those precious few minutes count down.
Nigel De Jong
Nasri has his shot blocked before th ball bounces into Howard's hands to the right of his goalmouth. Barry is brought off by Nigel de Jong for City - one last throw of the dice by Mancini.
With five minutes plus added time remaining, Everton are defending brilliantly but they are hardly hanging on. For every City attack, the hosts are countering Mancini's men as 90 minutes approach.
City are throwing so many men forwards that they're leaving gaps at the back. Phil Neville ventures down the empty right wing and crosses deep to Baxter, but his effort is blocked by Richards inside the box on the left.
Fellaini intercepts Aguero on the edge of the box and the Toffees counter, forcing Hart far to the right of his goalmouth to prevent an Everton corner. However, Stracqualursi doesn't get his long-ranged effort on target as Hart sprints back to the City goalmouth.
Richards attempts an overhead kick inside the Everton box but the shot flies over the bar. Drenthe is brought off for Jose Baxter after his out-of-control high tackle on the England defender moments ago.
Yellow Card Royston Drenthe
Drenthe is yellow carded for a rash challenge around the halfway-line on Richards.
City are certainly not out of the game but they will need to breakdown the solid wall of players that faces their every attack. Kolarov wants a penalty for handball but the referee doesn't give City anything.
Everton are camped in their own half, allowing City to come at them. This isn't to say they aren't attacking though - the Toffees are counter-attacking with menace whenever they get the ball off the away side.
Stracqualursi plows forwards down the left wing, muscling aside City defenders before crossing. His whipped ball is headed out but only as far as Gibson, who attempts to volley it on his left foot, but the shot bobbles to the left of goal harmlessly for a Man City goal-kick.
Joleon Lescott, who picked up a booking not so long ago, is brought off by Roberto Mancini for Aleksandar Kolarov. The Serbian defender goes to right-back, with Micah Richards shifting into centre-back.
Replays show Gibson's first goal for Everton took a small deflection off Gareth Barry, but nothing major. He scored a fair few goals like that at Old Trafford over the past few seasons. He's doing his old club a favour tonight at Goodison Park too.
Nasri hacks a bit at Phil Neville but the referee lets play go on as the hosts maraud down the right wing. The ex-Gunner gets away with just a warning once the ball goes out of play for a Toffees throw-in. City players will need to keep their heads if they are to get anything from the match.
The crowd have burst into life after quietening somewhat during the visitors' numerous attacks on the Toffees' goalmouth. Much might now be made of that Aguero penalty appeal, but in reality it wasn't a strong one.
Assist Landon Donovan
Goal Darron Gibson
Everton take the lead! Leighton Baines whips the ball in, but sees it deflected towards the right edge of the box by a City defender. Landon Donovan controls the ball beautifully, before laying off Darron Gibson, who hammers the ball past Joe Hart to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Yellow Card Joleon Lescott
A penalty shout for Manchester City is dismissed by the referee. Aguero goes down under Marouane Fellaini's rough tackle in the box but fair play to Aguero for not making a meal of it; the Belgium international did get contact on the Argentinian but also got the ball.
Milner boots the ball from the halfway-line but Tony Hibbert matches Dzeko in the air and the ball is reclaimed by the hosts. The game has become simply a case of Everton defending City's speedy attacks.
Aguero's deft ball on the counter-attack down the middle to Dzeko reaches the Bosnian, but he dithers and John Heitinga tackles and clears.
Clichy's probing ball from the left flank avoids every Everton defender in its path, and Nasri almost gets his pounce at the back-post on target. Close, but no cigar for the Frenchman.
Lescott is deemed to have fouled Everton keeper Tim Howard when the ball is lobbed back into the box after City's cleared corner. Harsh on the former Wolves defender but referees have a tendency to rule in favour of the goakeeper in that situation.
City counter-attack and the ball falls to Nasri on the edge of Everton box. His shot with his second touch takes a deflection and goes out for a corner to the visitors.
The home fans are really getting behind their side now, as the Toffees try to make headway down the right flank.
David Silva wiggles and writhes into the opposition box but is deemed offside after a one-two with Edin Dzeko. He's far from pleased with the decision but it looks correct.
Aggressive tackle from Drenthe gives away a free-kick on the right flank, about 35-yards from the Everton byline. Nothing comes of it for a while but after a minute of casual passing Nasri grind s cross low across the box but Tony Hibbert clears for the home side.
No substitutes were made at half-time as the Toffees get us back underway at Goodison Park.
Do you think this game will end 0-0, or a draw at the least maybe? Or will Everton sneak a lead against opponents who have seen much of the ball but not harassed the goal enough? Or will the expected happen, and will City start scoring at the Merseyside ground? The second half will restart soon.
Jelavic has been paraded out at Goodison Park. He'll inevitably be Louis Saha's replacement once his move to Spurs has been finalised.
Well the end of that half was ruined by the handcuffed fan in hindsight. Admittedly, it was amusing in its own unexpected way, but the football afterwards was the definition of mediocre. Have any of you heard of something quite like that before?
45' + 5'
0-0 at Goodison Park as the half-time whistle blows. Everton had the best early attempt on goal when Denis Stracqualursi had his header cleared off the line by Joleon Lescott. Manchester City spent most of the first 45 minute in possession however, and Sergio Aguero fashioned a couple of close chances while Samir Nasri saw his shot cannon back off the crossbar.
45' + 4'
Word is the handcuffed fan had to be cut loose from the post with boltcutters. Nothing much is happening on the pitch, hence the quick update. Coty are trying to find space on the flanks put the opportunities they're creating look half-hearted.
45' + 2'
The pause in action has made for a sloppy period of play. Everton have seen more the ball but both sides look more eager for half-time to come than a goal.
45' + 1'
We've entered five minutes of stoppage time at Goodison Park.
Finally, play is back underway. I wonder if they found a key or had to cut the chains in half, I couldn't see.
While we wait for this strange, strange man to be removed from the pitch I'll give you a quick transfer update: Nikica Jelavic has joined Everton from Rangers for £5.5m.
The Manchester City have had 63% of possession, but the score remains 0-0. There is a gap in play at the moment, for one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, and that is no exaggeration. A fan has handcuffed himself to the City goalpost, and stewards are baffled at what to do. Crazy scenes!
Nasri's hobbling a little at the moment but it doesn't look too serious. Aguero has a shot from 10-yards out inside the box but Baines easily blocks to lashed effort for a City corner.
Smash! At the other end Nasri slams a shot against the Everton crossbar from 30-yards out, his swerving right-footed shot beating Howard but is then denied by the woodwork.
Baines works hard to keep hold of the ball on the left, whipping the ball to the back-post to Cahill. The Australia international heads it across goal 15-yards out for Fellaini to hit just wide of Hart's right upright.
Yellow Card Vincent Kompany
Donovoan takes the free-kick but he can't get it over the wall. It eventually rebounds back towards goal, and Stracqualursi shields the dropping ball from Hart before Donovan whacks it high over the crossbar. The City keeper is fuming and believes he should have a free-kick. No matter, Everton did not take advantage of the situation and it's a City goal-kick.
Having said that, the Toffees did see a good two minutes of solid possession and Tim Cahill has won a free-kick on the right edge of the box, 30 yards out.
The Toffees are trying to play the possession game, but careless mistakes are making attacks few and far between. The hosts are struggling to make it into the final third and are constantly up against a determined City offence.
Marouane Fellaini - who name gives me spelling nightmares - is attempting to claim the centre of the park as his alongside January signing Darron Gibson. The favourites for the Premier League title are hassling and harrying the home midfield however, and have arguably won the midfield battle so far this evening.
Drenthe, on loan from Real Madrid, takes a quick free-kick inside the visitors' half but it gifts it straight back to City. Mancini's men counter-attack and Silva lofts the ball to Aguero up front, who controls calmly before dragging it marginally wide of Howard's left post with a low but stinging shot.
Kompany powers a lovely ball from the back along the ground to Milner in the final third, who lays off Clichy on the left. His quick cross loops just over Sergio Aguero in the centre of the box though, and the speedy City attack comes to a halt.
A corner at the opposite end of the pitch, but David Silva kicks it straight into the outstretched arms of Tim Howard.
Baines forces an Everton corner on the left wing, making Kompany tackle the ball off the pitch. Landon Donovan's corner is straight at the near post to Edin Dzeko who heads clear for the league leaders.
Drenthe goes down on a weaving run but is thwarted when attempting to get past the imposing body of Vincent Kompany. A quite ridiculous dive follows from Drenthe who deserves a booking if you ask me, falling dramatically once he realises his touch past the Belgian defender was too heavy and going off the pitch.
Patient passing play from the visitors, who are dressed in red-and-black vertical stripes. Silva eventually pings a cross in from the left flank but Tim Howards is there to prevent the ball from reaching a City head.
At the other end Milner whips a ball in low across the box from the right, but the cross evades most of the Blues' attack. It finds Gael Clichy at the left corner of the box but the ex-Arsenal left-back hoofs it over.
The match has calmed down a tad chance-wise but the clash is certainly a physical one. Stracqualursi nods a header in from the right inside the box straight at City keeper Joe Hart.
Shot from Micah Richards (who clearly overcame any niggle in the warm-up) but Tim Howard saves well for a corner. The corner from City's right is headed goalwards by former Everton defender Lescott, but Howards pounces onto the ball before it can dribble into the back of the net. A vibrant start from both sides on Merseyside.
The first chance goes to Everton. A corner is whipped in from the right by Royston Drenthe towards Denis Stracqualursi at the back post. The Argentinian powers in goalwards but his header is cleared off the line by Joleon Lescott. The Toffees striker thinks it went over the line but replays show it did not.
Baines brings Milner down in a clumsy fashion, but there was no foul intention and it's just a free-kick to the visitors.
City are unsurprsingly seeing much of the ball early on. James Milner and David Silva are pairing up on the right to test Everton left-back Leighton Baines.
We're underway at Goodison Park.
Can Everton sneak a win against Roberto Mancini’s side, what do you think? Give me your predicted scores in the comment section below and I’ll check them out. The Toffees put up one hell of a fight earlier on in the campaign before conceding two goals late on at the Etihad Stadium, and I would wager the Moyes’ team will put up a fight against the league leaders again. I’m a huge fan of on-loan midfielder Landon Donovan the American, Drenthe, Cahill and Stracqualursi compete with City’s attacking four of Samir Nasri, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko? The game is about to begin.
I can’t be the only football fanatic left underwhelmed by today’s transfer deals. I suppose we were spoilt with the absurdity of last January’s madness, when Fernando Torres went for £50 million to Chelsea and Andy Carroll replaced him at Liverpool for £35m. Both the Everton and City have been active in the transfer market today, however: Rangers forward Jelavic is set to replace the outgoing Louis Saha, while free-scoring Manchester City have targeted Roma’s David Pizarro to bolster their midfield. So I think it’s safe to say we can’t blame these two teams for the poor deadline day showing.
I’ve got some more pre-match statistics to whet your appetites for tonight’s Goodison Park extravaganza. Did you know that David Silva’s 12 assists in the Premier League is five more than any other player? Did you know that if the visitors win it will be manager Mancini’s 50th triumph in the English top flight? And did you know that the Toffees have not scored more than one goal in their last 10 league matches? You did?! Well, kudos my friend. If not, don’t feel too bad, I was the same until five minutes ago...
The Toffees have only lost once to City in 13 trips to Goodison Park. City are still without Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure, who are with Ivory Coast’s national squad for the African Cup of Nations. All this might mean Moyes’ men have reason to be optimistic heading into this evening’s match; however, the hosts have only won once in their last six league fixtures.
The visitors make one change from their 3-2 victory over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium, with club captain Vincent Kompany replacing Stefan Savic. Blues boss Roberto Mancini is still without striker Mario Balotelli, who has a four-match ban to serve for his conduct in the Spurs win. Micah Richards is down to start at right-back for the Premier League leaders but reports indicate Pablo Zabaleta might have to replace the England international as he might have picked up a knee injury while warming up. I’ll keep you posted Goal.com readers!
Toffees boss David Moyes has fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation with Denis Stracqualursi as the lone striker. Louis Saha is left out the Toffees squad with Premier League title challengers Tottenham hoping to sign the former Manchester United man on an 18-month contract with hours left until the transfer window closes – classic Harry Redknapp. Forward Magaye Gueye is replaced by Royston Drenthe and defender Shane Duffy is demoted to the bench in favour of Tony Hibbert in two changes from the side which won 2-1 at home to Fulham on Friday.
Manchester City: Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Milner, Barry; Silva, Nasri, Aguero, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Savic, Zabaleta, Kolarov, De Jong, Johnson, Razak.
Everton: Howard; Neville, Hibbert, Heitinga, Baines; Gibson, Fellaini; Donovan, Cahill, Drenthe; Stracqualursi. Subs: Mucha, Duffy, Barkley, Forshaw, Gueye, Vellios, Baxter.
Hello, I’m Miles Chambers and welcome to Goal.com’s LIVE! commentary of Everton-Manchester City. The game doesn’t kick-off for another half an hour (20:00 GMT), but the starting line-ups and the substitutes have being announced so what better time to get this show on the road?
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